Reporting GMs, both Good and Bad


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Grand Lodge 4/5

seraph... i am not trying to muck throw but thats not what the others said to me. my friend or i didnt act out of sorts we both just thought it was kinda funny logic since the goblinoid didnt even swing back at the eidolon doing damage to it. if u remember correctly the wizard hit it with greese too before i even got to him and he didnt go attack her. its not like my summoner is putz to hit (ac 21 was the highest at the table besides my eidolon). of the other three at the table one was barely paying attention and the other two seemed to be very casual players and offered little help in that combat. to be fair i have other ways to avoid damage and i chose not to take them (i was trying to be a hero and do the most good) but i could have just been cheesy and used my wand of invis and take the dice out of the judges hand. i feel like my halfling will learn from the experience. i am not angry.... like i said before u ran the table cold. in general u did a good job.

The Exchange 4/5

I played in 6 scenario's at gencon, my buddy and I got split up twice. So between the two of us we had 8 different GMs.

We had various minor quibs with different weaknesses, and a few great judges that were super fun! We even played with a 5-star, who was an excellent GM, but wasn't the best of the weekend, I wish I had taken more care to write down the awesome scenario's and why they were awesome.

I had one truly bad GM. I was frustrated, irritated, and wouldn't play with him again, I was annoyed enough at the end of the scenario that I considered not coming back to play on sunday, I'm glad I did however as I had another excellent GM; Despite playing a tier 3-7 with a level 1 and 2 in the party (this actually happened to me twice). I blame gencon for being an overwhelming amount of people, but it still shouldn't happen and I think it needs to be mentioned.

The story: Storming the Diamond gate.
There were some failings outside of the GMs control.
First: We had a 7 person table.
Second: we had one or 2 characters below level 3.

The GM seemed disinterested, but he did try to do some interesting things, I'm willing to chalk it up to just being tired it is a long weekend after all.

Then there was the changing encounters. This is PFS as I understand it moving an entire encounter and adding it to another encounter is against the rules. This made for a significantly more dangerous encounter.

In another encounter (designed to have 1 copy of a monster, he just simply added another one).

I was also denied a "take 20" after all enemies had been vanquished and there was no time constraint or danger.
Is take 20 disallowed for faction missions when normally allowed by the rules?

Spoiler:
Appraising a wall of infinite stones trying find a "flawless" one

I passed the check, and didn't lose my PP, but this seemed like a directed attempt to "get me" on a faction mission for basically no reason.

I understand that sometimes you get 7 players and get kind of steamrolled, and that may suck as a GM, but I don't think it excuses actually changing encounters.

If not for the 2 under-leveled players we would likely have been able to play up, making a more interesting experience for everyone.

The Exchange 5/5

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

i don't remember when exactly the grease went up. it just looked like she had a lot more tactical advantage over you/the dragon, and that you looked easier to hit. it really wasn't anything personal or meta. i don't recall the other eidolon doing much damage to her initially, possibly some bad rolls. I think everyone else hung back because they were low playing up.

and once the grease was up, she couldn't 5 ft step to adjust for a better position on the other characters, but she still had flank on you. ::shrug::

The Exchange 5/5

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Benrislove wrote:
Despite playing a tier 3-7 with a level 1 and 2 in the party (this actually happened to me twice).

that just shouldn't happen. it doesn't sound like you had a legal table. all the characters have to be within the level range of the scenario. the minimum level for all players at the table would be 3, its not just when the APL works out to be between 3 and 7. likewise a table of six with 7th level characters would work out to APL 8, but could all play in a tier 3-7 mod ( pre year 4 mod-math ).

Sczarni 2/5

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Benrislove wrote:

I was also denied a "take 20" after all enemies had been vanquished and there was no time constraint or danger.

Is take 20 disallowed for faction missions when normally allowed by the rules?

As it's been explained to me, you can't take 20 on a faction mission because there is a penalty for failure.

EDIT: Otherwise, I'd totally take 20 on my Sleight of Hand faction missions, getting well into the 30's every time and never risking failure. Faction missions aren't supposed to be easy, so taking 10 or 20 isn't allowed because otherwise then you could just waltz right on in and just take 20 every time and always get your Prestige. You're expected to fail every so often.

The Exchange 5/5

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

on reporting good / bad GMs. if its something where players can report about a GM, i should hope its just after they've played a game with the GM, and not just arbitrarily where players can get all their friends to leave bad reviews on a gm. Gm's should report trouble with players on the tracking sheet. Players should report gm's another way, so there's no fear of reprisal from the GM.

i've witnessed players in local groups that don't come back after a character death, so on a local scale it will resolve itself. At conventions, its nice to sit down and play, and see things work as expected. I remember RPGA had a 20 question (was it more?) variable test to become a GM for living greyhawk. Its great to encourage more people to GM, but they should also be encouraged to run rules consistently in PFS.

3/5 Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010

I have to say, after Gencon and walking around watching tables of Rise of the Goblin Guild, I have a much stronger appreciation of Mike's 'Run as Written' ruling.

The Exchange 5/5

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

depends on the game. shadow's last stand's elemental encounter has tactics written in that i believe raise the challenge rating on the encounter way higher than is warranted.

Liberty's Edge 2/5

Walter Sheppard wrote:


Everyone can organize and get a GM 101 style event going in their area, however. In fact, if you contact the Pratt's or John Compton, they may be willing to part with a copy of their Deck of Many Situations to be used at your own, locally run GM 101 session (some bribing may be required). I did such a thing a month ago and had about a dozen players and GMs show up and take part. We even offered prizes (some left over boons I had from GMing) for those that handled their situations most admirably.

Wonderful! I will do so! How can I get their email address?

I believe raising the skills of existing GMs and pulling in new ones is critical for the long term health of our hobby.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Sacramento

Benrislove wrote:


Second: we had one or 2 characters below level 3.

I was also denied a "take 20" after all enemies had been vanquished and there was no time constraint or danger.
Is take 20 disallowed for faction missions when normally allowed by the rules? ** spoiler omitted **

I remember you telling me this story or a friend of yours telling me this story on Sunday while I was GMing In Wrath's Shadow.

That is a messed up game and like I said the people that allowed the below tier PCs really should have known better.

Grand Lodge 4/5

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Am I the only one concerned that the event that triggered this whole conversation was an enemy NPC targeting attacks on a low AC spellcaster instead of a high AC brute?

So a player reckons that's metagaming, now. Sure. Okay. Can't wait to see what other flippant definitions of metagaming you can come up with on this upcoming reporting system.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

If I am in a boss fight and he has minions. I will kill them first to cut down on action economy of the bad guys. Why can't NPC's think the same way with regard to a tough PC?

Grand Lodge 4/5

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It's not FAAAAIR wraithstrike, you're reported. You metagamer.

Sczarni 2/5

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wraithstrike wrote:
If I am in a boss fight and he has minions. I will kill them first to cut down on action economy of the bad guys. Why can't NPC's think the same way with regard to a tough PC?

Let's see, I'm an average intelligence BBEG and before me I see a meat-cube in armor, an elf with a bow in the back, an armored character decked out in religious regalia, and some guy in robes. Now, after hiring my own mooks, I know the meat cubes are hard to hit and can dish out damage, the religious ones heal, the archers nance about shooting their arrows, and the robed ones... Make pain happen. Fiery, explody, death-pain. I want the fiery, explody, death-pain to not happen, so if I can squash the squishy fast, that won't happen. Next up, the healer. After that, it's a tossup between meat-cube and nancy-elf, so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

2/5

@Mike & Mark: I'd be afraid of a feedback system being imbalanced toward complaints. Complainers complain. Happy people smile.
I don't want to see "Nani Pratt"s getting reamed or disheartened.
I would like to see feedback cards GMs could use for learning/reflection.
In either case, specific questions would aid better than 'spaces'.

Maybe a standard list of expectations (or GM 101 crib notes) could be printed for GMs?

@Seraphimpunk: I'm with you on this. I was thinking "He's attacking the rider" (She?) before you mentioned it. If you fear the mount, you're likely to attack the rider.
And if the Summoner can't take the blows, what's he doing up so close?
(21 h.p. wouldn't kill my planned first level Summoner, who admittedly will never exist with the exclusion of Master Summoners, but hey...)

Re: Summoners are a common class on Golarion.
No, they're not.
James Jacobs said as much.
Or, name one NPC Summoner on Golarion.
PCs, yeah. Population, not so much.

And I don't think other class skills are obvious, even the dagger hitting for 54 damage. It hits a major organ/vein, and one can likely discern it's precision damage (and part of the attackers abilities if repeated), but to the PC his world is 'real' and it could be a 'lucky hit' to observers in that world.
They don't know everybody has a 5% chance of hitting (or missing) every time they attack. (Though it'd be funny if it were discernible, the subject of scientific inquiry.)
In other words, I think the characters don't know they're in a mechanically rigid world, i.e. it's unlikely cops say "You have 6 seconds to drop your weapon" or are as wary of people with small weapons flanking them (as opposed to big weapons).
/derail

As for much of the rest of the thread, it's more than a matter of taste/rules/killer vs. coddler, it's a matter of story/RPing and playing that fairly. The rules are already 'fair', and the battles mostly favor the PCs. And you want softballing too? Jeesh.
-Aid the newbies with wisdom before they die, not coddling to protect their ignorance by letting them live. ("Wow, level 2 is so much harder.")
-Don't bank on your enemies motives, it may get you (or whoever is on the ground) killed.
Even smart enemies can be vindictive, especially if losing/demonic/undead/bloodthirsty/stupid/dishonorable/or possessing numerous other villainous traits that embody the foes we crush.
Most of my regular players have learned you have to protect the downed, even if only by making yourself a more tempting target.
This is true of the fantasy genre, as well as military/SF/etc. No reason to expect it'd be different in PF/PFS.

Many of my NPCs have no interest in attacking a downed PC, only in attaining their own goals. But many of them do attack downed PCs. I let them make the choice.

JMK

2/5

KestlerGunner wrote:

Am I the only one concerned that the event that triggered this whole conversation was an enemy NPC targeting attacks on a low AC spellcaster instead of a high AC brute?

So a player reckons that's metagaming, now. Sure. Okay. Can't wait to see what other flippant definitions of metagaming you can come up with on this upcoming reporting system.

Early editions of D&D very specifically mentioned how spellcasters would be targeted first.

"Oh, and he rode up right next to me. Flanked. Hmm..."
One example I remember is how flying=dying because it marked you as a spellcaster. (And Gygax and Salvatore target spellcasters with their characters in novels.)

And, yeah, I hope players will have to justify their negative comments with specifics, not just broad swipes.
Maybe have examples, i.e. He didn't know rules. (Not enough)
"He didn't know flanking." is much different than "He didn't know an Inquisitor only spell."

Anyway, this conversation/thread feels productive, so I smile.
:)
JMK

Sczarni 2/5

Castilliano wrote:

Re: Summoners are a common class on Golarion.

No, they're not.
James Jacobs said as much.
Or, name one NPC Summoner on Golarion.
PCs, yeah. Population, not so much.

NPC Summoner:
Scenario 2-01 Before the Dawn, Part 1: The Bloodcove Disguise

In the tavern is the summoner Lura Ichon and her Eidolon Bellu.


I don't think feedback system is bad, but players should know that a GM not running a fight like want, and breaking rules are two seperate things.

If I TPK a party within the rules, and I an run the NPC as he would act then the players might not like it, but that should not get the GM any negative points*.

*I am not suggesting a point system.

If I alter the scenario, or blatantly ignore a rule that is different. Making a rules error should not be confused with ignoring a rule(PFS or core). I do realize that it may be hard to tell the difference at times.

Sczarni 2/5

wraithstrike wrote:

I don't think feedback system is bad, but players should know that a GM not running a fight like want, and breaking rules are two seperate things.

If I TPK a party within the rules, and I an run the NPC as he would act then the players might not like it, but that should not get the GM any negative points*.

*I am not suggesting a point system.

If I alter the scenario, or blatantly ignore a rule that is different. Making a rules error should not be confused with ignoring a rule(PFS or core). I do realize that it may be hard to tell the difference at times.

I think something that would help with that is making sure to list the scenario on the comment card so that it can be looked at. If they're complaining about how the BBEG went after the squishiest looking character and they're written that way, then their complaint is just about the scenario.

Now, if the scenario states that the BBEG goes after the most heavily armored meat-cube first, and he first targeted a squishy, then they'd have some grounds to complain about.

Liberty's Edge 2/5

This thread makes me think of the first game I ever DMed (many many years ago). My only guide of what I was supposed to do was limited to what I had seen one DM do once and what was printed in the blue box rules.

It was a tremendous stretch that I was highly motivated to make. It was most certainly the worst GMing display of my life. However, I remember vividly that my players (also new to this very new hobby at the time) wanted strongly that I succeed.

GMing is a demanding (and rewarding) skill. Anyone who puts themselves behind a screen deserves credit for trying.

Spoiler:
Yes, I know many GMs don't use screens; I am speaking figuratively here.

Playing this hobby is immersive (a key reason why it is so great). So it is understandable that someone can get upset when a GM makes a mistake (or is so bad at running the game that boredom insues). But let's never stop wanting the GM to succeed.

Constructive and direct suggestions in the moment (or right after the game) are the keys to help him/her. Complaining to Mike and/or this message board.... Is Ok but less effective.

Sczarni 3/5

Walter Sheppard wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
In Indy they've started a GMing 101 class which was also run at GenCon. It'd be cool to see that spread a bit.

You know, different GMs have different strengths. Why not have GMs start offering advice/training/whatever on their own areas of expertise to other GMs?

For example, my local VC is a great organizer/preparer. I'm sure folks could learn a thing or two from him on organizing games or prepping scenarios. My local VL is great with voices, getting in character with the NPCs, and smoothly bringing the organic parts of a scenario to life. What if he wrote a Top Ten Tips sort of thing for that particular skill and posted it on the boards?

Conversely, how about if we started asking each other for help with our weaknesses? Everyone seems very ready to be the first to admit their imperfection, so how about we start saying "I'm not just generally imperfect, I actually have a specific weakness in area X; who can help me get better?"

What would folks say to that?

I believe it was Nani (or maybe Kyle/John) that asked that exact question at the GM 101 seminar I attended at PaizoCon this year. "What questions or concerns do you guys have? What areas of GMing do you want help with?"

There was a ton of Q&A and people were even taking notes on improving their various GM weaknesses. I know I got a lot out of it, and I can't imagine that anyone walked out of there with nothing useful to add to their proverbial "GM toolbox."

I REALLY wanted to take part in GMing 101, because I know I could grow in a lot of areas... but I was slotted to run every time GMing 101 was going on.

The Exchange 5/5

marv wrote:

Wonderful! I will do so! How can I get their email address?

I believe raising the skills of existing GMs and pulling in new ones is critical for the long term health of our hobby.

Nani's email address is nani.o.pratt@georgiapfs.org.

Sovereign Court 4/5 *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Mike: Since i brought up the comment cards I should be clear I would not advocate a ranking system for GMs or anything formalized in that way. Just the ability for complaints and kudos to be handled in a formalized manner.

Back when Josh was running the show he tried to handle it all himself and it mostly worked. It has grown so big it is not even remotely possible to do that anymore.

That does not mean you have to go so far as to start formally evaluating every GM or giving out report cards. My guess is the comment cards will speak for themselves and anything above the low grade rumblings any of us as GMs would get will make themselves blatantly obvious.

Scarab Sages 3/5 Venture-Captain

As a Game Mater I appreciate as much feedback as possible from players. We are not perfect beasts. I know I'm not like most people however, if someone came up to me and said, "Dude, you sucked" I'll smile and ask that person why, and see about improving from there. I know I've made my share mistakes.

However, I do not believe in just complaining about GMing on a public forum, it does not help things. Although the general concern is there definetly, the first policy of any individual should always be to approach that other individual, or the leader of the group and let them know about your concern.

The GM in question could of benefited from the feedback and may not know, or even to a point understand that this post is about him/her. Feedback, don't be afraid to give it personally.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 5/5

Every once in a while, I get the urge to volunteer at the next convention I'm due to attend by GMing PFS for a table of complete strangers (rather than a dozen or so familiar players at my local club). Then I read posts like some of the ones in this thread, and it scares me off from ever attempting such a thing.

5/5

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Every major convention, I try to sit at as many different GM's tables as possible. The main reason I do this is to try to find new techniques to improve my GMing. Every time I have a positive experience, I go out of my way to let the GM know. I it's a truly great experience I let Mike know.

Grand Lodge 2/5 RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Drogon wrote:
Magic: the Gathering has probably the single most successful organized play program ever. One of the reasons for that success is its approach to judging. As judges, we are always recruiting, always discussing the rules, always discussing the game, and regularly review each other. The DCI has a central system with a "judge board" of sorts where judges and organizers can log in, check on rules/cards, recruit help for their events, and leave reviews for each other. The reviews are never anonymous, so they are usually very useful, as no one wants to come off as someone who flames for the sake of flaming. Thus, they actually help people improve.

I wanted to bring additional attention to this. MtG used to be my primary gaming fix, and I keep my certification maintained just in case. You have to be able to pass a rules test once a year to be able to preside at an event at all, unless you're the store guy with no judges available or if there's some kind of emergency. Advancing in the ranks towards being a Level 5 judge requires mentoring, shadowing, evaluation, hours put in, recommendations, and an in-person interview with a higher-level judge.

Interestingly enough, MtG doesn't find itself wishing it hadn't scared away potential volunteers by being willing to tell someone they did something wrong. Quite the opposite: many players who want to get better at the game will go for their Rules Advisor certification, because it actually means something.

Having come from that, seeing so many people terrified of running out of volunteers to the point of not wanting to risk giving negative feedback to the people who need it... well, it boggles my mind.

Grand Lodge 2/5 RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Jack-of-Blades wrote:
Benrislove wrote:

I was also denied a "take 20" after all enemies had been vanquished and there was no time constraint or danger.

Is take 20 disallowed for faction missions when normally allowed by the rules?

As it's been explained to me, you can't take 20 on a faction mission because there is a penalty for failure.

EDIT: Otherwise, I'd totally take 20 on my Sleight of Hand faction missions, getting well into the 30's every time and never risking failure. Faction missions aren't supposed to be easy, so taking 10 or 20 isn't allowed because otherwise then you could just waltz right on in and just take 20 every time and always get your Prestige. You're expected to fail every so often.

Yes, you can take 10 or take 20 on faction-related skill checks in any circumstance in which the Core Rules would normally allow it. Based on your comment in your edit, though, I have a feeling you might be a bit rusty on what that means.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Jiggy wrote:
Having come from that, seeing so many people terrified of running out of volunteers to the point of not wanting to risk giving negative feedback to the people who need it... well, it boggles my mind.

Running a MtG event doesn't require hours of prep work from each judge, and the rules are, frankly, much simpler, and judges (AFAIK) aren't required to be actively engaged in making gameplay and interaction decisions with up to 6 players constantly for 3-4 hours at a time.

I'm not dissing MtG event judges, just pointing out that GMing an RPG and judging a MtG event are very, very different beasts. Being a GM requires you to know a set of rules that dwarfs the MtG rule book as well as being prepped on whichever scenario(s) you're expected to run at the event.

An MtG judge is an arbiter to resolve rules disputes when they come up, whereas an RPG GM is an arbiter, actor, director, and tactitian constantly for hours on end.

TL;DR version - MtG judges and RPG GMs are apples and oranges. Getting someone in a group to volunteer for the latter has always been challenging, even in home games.

Note: I haven't judged any official MtG events, nor participated in any tournaments,but I played pretty heavily for a few years so I have a pretty solid grasp of the basic mechanics. If being an MtG judge is significantly different than I've described, I apologize.

Grand Lodge 2/5 RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Jonathan Cary wrote:
Note: I haven't judged any official MtG events, nor participated in any tournaments,but I played pretty heavily for a few years so I have a pretty solid grasp of the basic mechanics. If being an MtG judge is significantly different than I've described, I apologize.

Then apology accepted. ;)

Spoiler'd for derailishness:
There's the "rulebook" that you're probably thinking of, but unbeknownst to most players, that's actually just a user-friendly summary of the actual rules. The MtG Comprehensive Rules is an enormous document, so much so that it's catalogued like a library, with rules having section/subsection numbers cited as "Rule 354.14".

So you've actually got it backwards: it's the MtG rules that dwarf the Pathfinder rules, not vice-versa. If your next thought is "Maybe the basic structure, but Pathfinder's full of content that all comes with its own rules, like how an eidolon works or what domains are legal; if you include all that, Pathfinder's gotta be bigger!" then you'd be wrong again. MtG has over 10,000 unique cards that a judge has to be able to deal with. And we haven't even touched things outside in-game mechanics, like what all the different tournament formats are, which cards are legal in which ones, what to do if someone's sideboard has 1 too many cards in it, how to handle a dispute, and so forth. And unlike in RPGs, the answer is never "judge discretion".

Oh, and Pathfinder GMs get to sit during their three-day event. MtG judges don't. ;)

3/5

I know a guy who is a level 3 MtG judge, and the depth of minutiae that he studied to reach that level of rules mastery is mind-blowing, so I can second what Jiggy is saying here.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Matthew Pemrich wrote:
I REALLY wanted to take part in GMing 101, because I know I could grow in a lot of areas... but I was slotted to run every time GMing 101 was going on.

It is a work in progress and we are off to a great start with this interactive class.

This was a great event and I enjoyed participating in it so much I went back a third day to help run it again. If this comes to a town near you I would highly recommend sitting in on it.

I am going to be running this in my region.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Benrislove wrote:

I played in 6 scenario's at gencon, my buddy and I got split up twice. So between the two of us we had 8 different GMs.

We had various minor quibs with different weaknesses, and a few great judges that were super fun! We even played with a 5-star, who was an excellent GM, but wasn't the best of the weekend, I wish I had taken more care to write down the awesome scenario's and why they were awesome.

I had one truly bad GM. I was frustrated, irritated, and wouldn't play with him again, I was annoyed enough at the end of the scenario that I considered not coming back to play on sunday, I'm glad I did however as I had another excellent GM; Despite playing a tier 3-7 with a level 1 and 2 in the party (this actually happened to me twice). I blame gencon for being an overwhelming amount of people, but it still shouldn't happen and I think it needs to be mentioned.

The story: Storming the Diamond gate.
There were some failings outside of the GMs control.
First: We had a 7 person table.
Second: we had one or 2 characters below level 3.

The GM seemed disinterested, but he did try to do some interesting things, I'm willing to chalk it up to just being tired it is a long weekend after all.

Then there was the changing encounters. This is PFS as I understand it moving an entire encounter and adding it to another encounter is against the rules. This made for a significantly more dangerous encounter.

In another encounter (designed to have 1 copy of a monster, he just simply added another one).

I was also denied a "take 20" after all enemies had been vanquished and there was no time constraint or danger.
Is take 20 disallowed for faction missions when normally allowed by the rules? ** spoiler omitted **

I passed the check, and didn't lose my PP, but this seemed like a directed attempt to "get me" on a faction mission for basically no reason.

I understand that sometimes you get 7 players and get kind of steamrolled, and that may suck...

Please send me this GMs PFS account number to my email.

Dark Archive 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Jon, you've got it summarized quite well there.

Being an MtG judge, an old Master-level GM from testing-for-it days of RPGA, and a current PFS GM and store rep, I'd say that not only are they vastly different, we also have a vastly higher number of GMs needed to serve our player base.

A single MtG judge can run a fifty seat event. We'd need 9 GMs to do that.

Our threshold is necessarily different and lower.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Jiggy wrote:
Jonathan Cary wrote:
Note: I haven't judged any official MtG events, nor participated in any tournaments,but I played pretty heavily for a few years so I have a pretty solid grasp of the basic mechanics. If being an MtG judge is significantly different than I've described, I apologize.

Then apology accepted. ;)

** spoiler omitted **

To Jonathan Cary:

I, too will spoiler to keep derailing down:
Yeah, sorry, Mr. Cary, but being a judge at an MTG event is possibly one of the most grueling things I have to do. There are more rules in Magic than you can possibly imagine, and the number of interactions between cards, players, steps, phases, etc. is mind-boggling.

Factor in the penalties that must be applied to various situations (did he accidentally look at the top card of his deck by bumping it, or did he deliberately manufacture a way to peek at it?) and the number of things a Magic judge has to keep track of blows a PFS GM's prep out of the water. For instance, with 100 games going on in a room, a judge has to be able to walk up to any game and be able to determine game state within moments to assess a judge call's answer, because the next judge call has likely already happened.

Jiggy deserves your apology, my friend (-:

Shadow Lodge 4/5 5/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

RE:

Castilliano wrote:

Re: Summoners are a common class on Golarion.

No, they're not.
James Jacobs said as much.
Or, name one NPC Summoner on Golarion.
PCs, yeah. Population, not so much.
I wrote:
If the summoner class is allowed as PFS legal, then we can assume it is a common PC class in Golarion. Just as NPCs know that people with holy symbols are divine casters, or that people in heavy armor probably aren't casting arcane spells (save those with somatic components), they will know that beasts with glowing runes are summoned pets, and the best way to destroy them is through their master.

The assumption being that if a class is legal, they are not rare. JJ can say they're not common, but as we play in this living campaign, they are becoming more common. Also PCs in PFS make up the population of Golarion. Its not a stagnant number -- you can buy houses in the game dude, settle down and start a family if you want to. There's 10,000? or so registered people now. That's (lowballing hard and assuming only 1 character a person) something like 500 summoners, most of which are well known (see the fame/prestige thing).

Quote:
And I don't think other class skills are obvious, even the dagger hitting for 54 damage. It hits a major organ/vein, and one can likely discern it's precision damage (and part of the attackers abilities if repeated), but to the PC his world is 'real' and it could be a 'lucky hit' to observers in that world.

That may be the case, but any NPC with class levels know what rogues and summoners are. Those NPCs could have even taken a level in those classes, but chose not to. They're aware they exist, and generally understand their abilities. As ALL PCs do. We can always strive for total immersion and whatnot, but even in that world of perfect IC playing, people know that KOing the master poofs the pet when it comes to summoners. Just like people know that disarming a fighter prevents him from attacking with that sword.

I think that summoners have a lot going for them, and to add to it "everyone doesn't know what my class is, nyah nyah!!" is both an unnecessary assumption and illogical.

4/5

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Chris Mortika wrote:

We don't become good GMs overnight, nor by attending a two-hour seminar. It takes work, and some mentoring. (For myself, I improved after video-taping a table I ran and seeing what I could do better.)

The trick is to get people to want to be better GMs. If somebody's pretty happy with himself, but he starts by just skipping the boring VC briefing stuff and getting to the first fight scene... the first challenge is getting him to want to improve.

How do we encourage table judges to do that? (And GMing 101 doesn't help, 'cause these aren't the people who show up for that.)

JohnF wrote:

There are things that can be done at a small event (FLGS, or a regional con) - when the reporting sheets are being collected at the end of the slot, debrief one or two of the GMs (selected at random). Take a few minutes to ask them how it went, what they think went well, and what they think didn't go as well. Most of the time just having them think about it will give them an insight into something they could do better; if not, a followup question might be enough.

If a GM doesn't want to answer your questions, and doesn't regard this as at least partially an opportunity for self-appraisal (rather than merely a chance to vent about the players at the table) that in itself could be a warning sign. But it's hard to make anybody want to do something.

I believe showing up for a GM101 session indicates a desire to improve. It's certainly what motivated me to attend. YMMV.

4/5

Walter Sheppard wrote:
Also PCs in PFS make up the population of Golarion. Its not a stagnant number -- you can buy houses dude. There's 10,000? or so registered people now. That's (lowballing hard and assuming only 1 character a person) something like 500 summoners, most of which are well known (see the fame/prestige thing).

I've heard from what I think are official sources (but I can't remember at the moment) that we are not supposed to assume that all the player characters in PFS together make up the population of Golarion, the same way we're not supposed to assume that every single PC who played Storming the Diamond Gate was somehow involved with capturing the Aspis portal in the Hao Jin Tapestry. That way madness lies. You might wind up, for instance, with more PCs from a certain town than the actual population of that town by a large amount. So like if you have 1,000 PCs from Falcon's Hollow.

What I've heard is that in each PC's own continuity, they are one of the few PCs in Golarion. So if that's true from the NPC side, summoners would still be rare even if they were common as Society PCs.

3/5

Walter Sheppard wrote:

RE:

Castilliano wrote:

Re: Summoners are a common class on Golarion.

No, they're not.
James Jacobs said as much.
Or, name one NPC Summoner on Golarion.
PCs, yeah. Population, not so much.
I wrote:
If the summoner class is allowed as PFS legal, then we can assume it is a common PC class in Golarion. Just as NPCs know that people with holy symbols are divine casters, or that people in heavy armor probably aren't casting arcane spells (save those with somatic components), they will know that beasts with glowing runes are summoned pets, and the best way to destroy them is through their master.
The assumption being that if a class is legal, they are not rare. JJ can say they're not common, but as we play in this living campaign, they are becoming more common. Also PCs in PFS make up the population of Golarion. Its not a stagnant number -- you can buy houses dude. There's 10,000? or so registered people now. That's (lowballing hard and assuming only 1 character a person) something like 500 summoners, most of which are well known (see the fame/prestige thing).

Summoners are certainly the rarest class on Golarion, and have been stated to be vanishingly rare. PFS does not accurately reflect the demographics of Gaolarion, nor does it need to. On Golarion there are actually likely far fewer Summoners than there are members of many of the "rare" races since there are literal countries full of Aasimar and Nagaji, yet in PFS there are far more summoners.

Quote:
And I don't think other class skills are obvious, even the dagger hitting for 54 damage. It hits a major organ/vein, and one can likely discern it's precision damage (and part of the attackers abilities if repeated), but to the PC his world is 'real' and it could be a 'lucky hit' to observers in that world.

That may be the case, but any NPC with class levels know what rogues and summoners are. Those NPCs could have even taken a level in those classes, but chose not to. They're aware they exist, and generally understand their abilities. As ALL PCs do. We can always strive for total immersion and whatnot, but even in that world of perfect IC playing, people know that KOing the master poofs the pet when it comes to summoners. Just like people know that disarming a fighter prevents him from attacking with that sword.

I think that summoners have a lot going for them, and to add to it "everyone...

I'm pretty sure that IC when NPCs level up they don't get a menu of classes to choose from. They merely continue their training, whether formal for wizards, fighters, etc. or self taught in the case of rogues. Maybe they merely have new horizons of power open up within them, as in the case of spontaneous spellcasters and Clerics. It is absolutely possible that NPC would be unaware of certain character options that they don't hav, such as the exact mechanics of Eidolons. That is what Knowledge(Arcana) is for.

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TetsujinOni wrote:

A single MtG judge can run a fifty seat event. We'd need 9 GMs to do that.

Our threshold is necessarily different and lower.

This is a fair point, we do need a relatively high GM-to-player ratio and therefore probably can't afford the front-end quality-control standards that MtG has.

Even so, consider this: at an MtG event if you think the judge is in error, you can appeal to the head judge - you can even send the judge you disagree with to go get them. Doing so is considered normal, players are encouraged to do so, it doesn't reflect poorly on the original judge, and judges are expected to accept appeals without being offended or taking it personally.

Meanwhile, if my GM gets a rule obviously wrong (possibly even after being shown the rule in question) and my VC happens to be walking by, what do you imagine happens if I take 30 seconds to "appeal" the error to my VC? Do you think he's willing to contradict the GM? Do you think the GM would accept such a contradiction? Do you think I, the player, would be encouraged that I did the right thing? Do you think the GM would refrain from taking offense?

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Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Walter Sheppard wrote:
Also PCs in PFS make up the population of Golarion. Its not a stagnant number -- you can buy houses dude. There's 10,000? or so registered people now. That's (lowballing hard and assuming only 1 character a person) something like 500 summoners, most of which are well known (see the fame/prestige thing).

I've heard from what I think are official sources (but I can't remember at the moment) that we are not supposed to assume that all the player characters in PFS together make up the population of Golarion, the same way we're not supposed to assume that every single PC who played Storming the Diamond Gate was somehow involved with capturing the Aspis portal in the Hao Jin Tapestry. That way madness lies. You might wind up, for instance, with more PCs from a certain town than the actual population of that town by a large amount. So like if you have 1,000 PCs from Falcon's Hollow.

What I've heard is that in each PC's own continuity, they are one of the few PCs in Golarion. So if that's true from the NPC side, summoners would still be rare even if they were common as Society PCs.

Hmm. Then what we're told and what happens are a bit of a discord. Characters purchase property in districts of a major city, but don't actually exist? Characters get betrothed to NPCs, or have romantic trists with them, but don't exist? Interesting, but I'll admit -- I'm not an expert in this area.

As far as the whole "summoners are rare" thing -- I'm not buying it. There aren't stat blocks for every NPC in the world, only the ones that various APs or scenarios have touched upon. And summoners aren't a PRC, or a class with any restrictions -- they are a base class. Quite literally, any kobold with a class level has the same chance of being a summoner as they do a fighter. We just don't fight those (probably because summoners are space consuming in a scenario, as well as confusing) with any frequency.

I don't think we can have it both ways. "Anyone can be one, but no one is! All those PCs that are don't count, they don't really exist! And there hasn't been a summoner heavy AP so there aren't any stat blocks for them anyway!!" That's just childish imo.

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Saint Caleth wrote:
I'm pretty sure that IC when NPCs level up they don't get a menu of classes to choose from. They merely continue their training, whether formal for wizards, fighters, etc. or self taught in the case of rogues.

What about when they chose their first level?

Saint Caleth wrote:
It is absolutely possible that NPC would be unaware of certain character options that they don't hav, such as the exact mechanics of Eidolons. That is what Knowledge(Arcana) is for.

No, that's what Knowledge (planes) could be for.

4/5

Walter Sheppard wrote:

[

Hmm. Then what we're told and what happens are a bit of a discord. Characters purchase property in districts of a major city, but don't actually exist? Characters get betrothed to NPCs, or have romantic trists with them, but don't exist? Interesting, but I'll admit -- I'm not an expert in this area.

There has to be some suspension of disbelief for an OP campaign like this. To give one example, unless she is the world's biggest polyamorous sybarite--

Golden Serpent:
Sendeli Foxglove is probably not carrying on simultaneous relationships with the thousands of characters who got her boon.

3/5

The exact statement was that PFS PCs do not reflect the demographics of the in game Pathfinder Society, since the vast majority of Pathfinders do not belong to any faction, but all PCs do.

3/5

Walter Sheppard wrote:
Saint Caleth wrote:
I'm pretty sure that IC when NPCs level up they don't get a menu of classes to choose from. They merely continue their training, whether formal for wizards, fighters, etc. or self taught in the case of rogues.
What about when they chose their first level?

That is between a character and their backstory, but I suspect that it does not involve a drop down menu containing all possible character options. It is silly to think so.

Saint Caleth wrote:
It is absolutely possible that NPC would be unaware of certain character options that they don't hav, such as the exact mechanics of Eidolons. That is what Knowledge(Arcana) is for.
No, that's what Knowledge (planes) could be for.

I was thinking Knowledge(Arcana) to identify the relevant mechanics of an arcane spellcasting class, but my point is that an NPC needs a knowledge check to know to knock out the summoner to poof the eidolon.

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Sure, Jiggy. There's vast difference, having to do with trust.

By the nature of tabletop gaming, the GM starts the adventure knowing things that the players don't, and the players have to trust the GM to acurately assess a situation based in part on that secret knowledge.

"The cultist swears an oath to Lissala, gestures with her free hand, and fades from view. Your colleagues rush up to you, their boots pounding along the cobblestones and drowning out any sounds her invisible footfalls might have made."

"I cast see invisibility."

"Nothing registers. Trust me."

There is an implicit sense of trust. Magic players don't have that relationship with the tournament judge.

"My opponent is palming estra cards."

"He's allowed to. Trust me."

Once a PFS player brings disputes to an appeal, he's denied the GM that level of trust, and the adventure is effectively over.

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Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Walter Sheppard wrote:

[

Hmm. Then what we're told and what happens are a bit of a discord. Characters purchase property in districts of a major city, but don't actually exist? Characters get betrothed to NPCs, or have romantic trists with them, but don't exist? Interesting, but I'll admit -- I'm not an expert in this area.

There has to be some suspension of disbelief for an OP campaign like this. To give one example, unless she is the world's biggest polyamorous sybarite--

** spoiler omitted **

I'm not arguing that, although maybe it comes across that way. Perhaps a better wording would be that yes, we have to suspend some disbelief. Not everyone is doing... "whatever" *wink wink* with that character at the same time. But a lot of people know who the pathfinders are. They're an adventuring force not to be reckoned with. And they have quite a few summoners. Maybe not enough to make them as common as I'd like, but still more than rare.

Maybe all summoners only exist as Pathfinders? I don't really care in this regard.

My only goal in all of this is to argue that when a GM has an intelligent NPC attack the little dude behind the giant glowing forehead dude, he doesn't get argued with, as I'm getting for defending this position. (Not defending the original GM, just this logical step for an NPC to make).

I keep trying to find evidence to support this, and its just baffling for me to do because to me, it seems like just common sense. Players have been targeting the squishy for eons, why can't the evil players?
For the record, I've only ever GM'd for two summoners. One was so far away from combat that it was never an issue and the other made his summoned creature look like the marshmellow man. The one with the marshmellow man was targeted as if he was just another adventurer, with most NPCs "wasting" actions on the blob. Only when a spellcaster or the BBEG himself was present, did they receive orders to target otherwise.

It's common sense for EVERYBODY. GMs included. If the GM isn't going to be fair, then what's the point in debating it. And if they are, then we don't even need a debate.

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I wrote:
Saint Caleth wrote:
It is absolutely possible that NPC would be unaware of certain character options that they don't hav, such as the exact mechanics of Eidolons. That is what Knowledge(Arcana) is for.
No, that's what Knowledge (planes) could be for.
I was thinking Knowledge(Arcana) to identify the relevant mechanics of an arcane spellcasting class, but my point is that an NPC needs a knowledge check to know to knock out the summoner to poof the eidolon.

Perhaps. I assumed planes to realize it was a summoned creature, and to know that summoned creatures follow orders from their summoner (wizard, sorcerer, or otherwise).

Dark Archive 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

"those two fight like they have one mind in charge, not two, and that doesn't look like a well-trained rider..."

Ah, right, this is why I ask for appearance descriptions so that what my NPCs see is what they react to. When I'm fully awake, anyway.

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Chris Mortika wrote:
(Stuff about trust)

If a GM feels that trust has been so betrayed by a player correcting him about whether darkness stacks or whether a missed ranged attack hits an ally or whether the PC's crit multiplies damage bonuses in addition to base weapon dice, that the adventure is effectively over, then that's something that needs to be corrected in the GM's mindset.

I'm not talking about PCs encountering challenges that they don't remember from when they memorized the Bestiary. Those aren't the things I'm hearing about when people talk about their bad experiences. I'm hearing about houserules, bullying, encounter changes, and any number of other things that shouldn't be happening.

And a player having immediate recourse for those situations is breaking trust? I don't buy it.

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